It is that time once again, when one of the largest simultaneous television viewing audiences in the history of the world must reckon with another slate of Super Bowl commercials. Advertising's biggest night always gives food and beverage brands an opportunity to shock and awe the public with big-name celebrity cameos and oddball humor. Catchphrases can be born, new memes can be struck, and cravings for various beer and snack brands will ideally follow. But is the golden age of the Super Bowl ad behind us? Can an increasingly jaded and fragmented public get the same enjoyment from Super Bowl ads that we once did? Does anybody still watch the game just for the commercials anymore?
Those are mostly rhetorical questions, but maybe we can achieve some accidental insights into the answers by taking a look at the best and worst of the night's food ads, as determined by my own personal whims and moods and in no way scientific. Here are all of the Super Bowl LVIII food commercials, ranked from the ones that didn't do it for me to those that entertained me most.
Silk: Feel Planty Good
Let me just start out by saying — and I apologize in advance for offending anyone with this — I do not care for Jeremy Renner. I have nothing against the man personally but he has simply never struck me as true leading man material. And I can't say I've been convinced otherwise by his performance here, getting funky for his morning almond milk in this Silk commercial. As to the creative choice to depict Renner's musical number a capella, I respect the attempt to avoid an advertising cliché but it kind of makes the commercial feel unfinished. Sorry, but this one lands last on the list.
Bud Light: Easy Night Out
Bud Light has introduced many an advertising character to the world at Super Bowl time, and this year's is the Bud Light Genie. Coming in for the assist are Post Malone, Peyton Manning, and UFC chief Dana White. This is nothing offensive in a vacuum, but the Genie feels lacking in any kind of real inspiration. Or maybe I'm just creeped out because he's played by the same guy who played the BTK killer on "Mindhunter."
Budweiser: Old School Delivery
You can't have Super Bowl commercials without the Budweiser Clydesdales, this time accompanied by the timeless music of The Band. I have never understood the solemn, sentimental tone that these commercials depicting horses that sell beer always have; in fact, there are even YouTube comments from fans professing that the ads always make them cry. Perhaps it's a generational thing, and I'm just not old enough to appreciate the majesty of the Clydesdales. I do get a little misty when I remember the Budweiser frogs, though.
Hellman's: Mayo Cat
As far as the major condiments are concerned, mayonnaise can be a bit polarizing. Some hate it, some swear by it. I am pro-mayo in reasonable quantities on a sandwich but I don't particularly like having to look at or contemplate the substance itself, which makes the shot of Kate McKinnon spooning a gobful of Hellman's mayonnaise into her mouth during this commercial a somewhat disturbing prospect. The general idea of the ad is pretty funny, but if the Hellman's people are trying to encourage the practice of eating it directly out of the jar I have to register my strenuous objection to that concept. This was a no for me.
Poppi: The Future Of Soda
If Poppi wants to disrupt the soda industry with its purportedly healthy sodas, changing the very "future of soda" before our eyes, it's chosen an interesting strategy for its Super Bowl ad. It took the opportunity to inform Super Bowl viewers of its product and made some pretty big promises in the process. It succeeds on that level but doesn't provide too much in the way of entertainment value. This commercial does have to break some sort of broadcasting record for number of repetitions of the word, "soda," so I have to give it credit for that. Soda.
Nerds: Addison Rae
It would be interesting to see a statistical model of how many TV commercials have parodied the movie "Flashdance" over the years. NERDS adds to the pile with this spot for its new Gummy Cluster candy, showing a massive anthropomorphic gummy blob showering itself with hundreds of tiny Nerd creatures, something that as I'm typing it out just doesn't seem very appetizing. But the weirdest part of this ad might be that guest star Addison Rae isn't incorporated into the action of the commercial at all, she's just shown watching it on the couch. Celebrities: They're just like us!
Popeyes: The Wait Is Over
This is kind of funny thanks to Ken Jeong's go-for-broke facility for humorously eating chicken wings on camera, but the concept is confusing to me. Jeong clearly can't be playing himself since, according to the ad, his character was cryogenically frozen in 1972 to be thawed out when Popeyes finally developed an improvement on the classic chicken wing. But, who is he? Why was this experiment performed? And, most importantly, why in the world did it take more than 50 years for Popeyes to start selling wings?
Michelob Ultra: Superior Beach
An idyllic beach, some special celebrity guests, and lots of conspicuously placed Michelob Ultra: These are the ingredients of a Super Bowl commercial. This one shows Leo Messi tapping a soccer ball around while waiting for his delayed Michelob from the bar, and we see Jason Sudeikis and Dan Marino (aboard the "Dan Marina" just off the shore, of course) get in on the fun too. Not a world-shaker but it does what it sets out to do, which is make you smile and think about grabbing a cold one.
Oreo: Twist On It
Not content to merely be one of the most popular sandwich cookies in the world and dominating the market with all manner of Oreo flavors, the folks at Oreo are now trying to replace the coin flip as the definitive binary decision-making arbiter. There's only one problem: Any seasoned Oreo eater will tell you that the cream doesn't always divide equally on both sides of the cookie when you twist them apart, making it a less-than-ideal decision-making mechanism compared to a quarter. I don't see this taking off for that reason, but the idea makes for a sort of funny ad.
Drumstick: Doctor On The Plane
The Dr. Umstick commercials are based on a simple premise: the word "Drumstick" a la the delicious frozen ice cream treat can be divided into the words "Dr." and "Umstick." What if there was a guy named Dr. Umstick? What if he was a weird little guy who looks a little like fellow advertising mascot Buddy Lee crossed with a Troll doll? And what if, despite his title, he failed to provide medical assistance to Eric Andre on board a commercial flight? These questions are now all answered thanks to this pretty funny bit of advertising absurdism.
Coors Light: Chill Train (Ft. LL Cool J And Lainey Wilson)
The return of the Coors Light Chill Train and (at least at the very end) its iconic musical accompaniment by the O'Jays stars celebs LL Cool J and Lainey Wilson But the true star of the ad is the train itself, which makes a cross-country trek to rescue a Super Bowl party from a potentially contentious clash of generic, non-NFL team jerseys. The funniest gag in this commercial is also a treat for ad buffs, as the Chill Train slams past two relaxed beachgoers positioned just like the classic Corona ad campaign. Your move, Corona.
Reese's: Big Cup, Yes
Other than the booming tone of familiar Reese's announcer Will Arnett, Reese's contributions to the Big Game don't have any celebrity guests. But they do have some funny gags depicting Reese's fans freaking out over the promise of some sort of change being made to the original Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Don't worry, they're not actually changing the basic cup, just introducing a new variant with a layer of caramel.
STōK: STōK Cold Brew Unleashes Sir Anthony Hopkins' Inner Wred Dragon
Sir Anthony Hopkins is pulling double duty in this ad, lending his actorly credibility to both STōK Cold Brew and Wrexham AFC, of which STōK Cold Brew is an official sponsor. It's funny to see an actor like Hopkins don the costume of a football mascot. It also functions as a clever reference to "Red Dragon," the novel by Thomas Harris that introduced psychopathic Dr. Hannibal Lecter to the world, who would of course later become Hopkins' signature role in "The Silence of the Lambs." Hopkins went on to play Lecter in the movie version of "Red Dragon," so the connection there is strong and I have to applaud whoever came up with it.
Mountain Dew: Aubrey Plaza Is Always Having A Blast
Aubrey Plaza describes herself in this commercial as "America's sweetheart," and it's one of those things that's both kind of a joke and kind of true. Here, she's pitching Tropical Lime Mountain Dew Baja Blast with the catchphrase "having a blast," delivered in vintage Plaza monotone. "Parks & Recreation" fans should enjoy a dragon-riding cameo at the end of this one. That's right, folks, in case you missed it: Ron Swanson rides a dragon now.
M&M's: Almost Champions Ring Of Comfort
Dan Marino makes his second appearance on the 2024 Super Bowl commercial slate with the M&M's "Ring of Comfort," a sort of chocolate participation trophy for "almost champions" like Marino, Terrell Owens, Bruce Smith, and even Scarlett Johansson. As for whether or not the scientists behind M&M's have actually figured out a way to formulate diamonds out of peanut butter, I remain skeptical.
Pringles: Mr. P
If you're a guy who made the decision to try out an elaborate old-timey mustache, there is a chance you're going to be likened to the Pringles guy, whose official name is evidently Mr. P. That's the premise behind this ad, which shows Chris Pratt achieving a new level of worldwide fame for his resemblance to the iconic crispmonger, even going so far as to star in a "Mr. P" feature film.
Uber: Don't Forget Uber Eats
Uber Eats wants you to remember it can deliver almost anything to your door, and it's brought in Jennifer Aniston, fellow "Friends" alum David Schwimmer, David and Victoria Beckham, and Jelly Roll to demonstrate a technique for remembering this crucial fact. Basically, the joke here is that if you want to remember something, you have to forget something else, so various characters are shown having forgotten integral components of their lives or the world around them for the sake of Uber Eats. Funny, and the celebrity guests are utilized with some wit and cleverness, making this a fun and watchable commercial.
DoorDash: All The Ads
The "Avengers: Endgame" of 2024 Super Bowl ads comes courtesy of DoorDash. The people behind the all-purpose delivery app have whipped up a gimmick that's ambitious, to say the least: One lucky person who enters the sweepstakes will receive one of every single product that was advertised during the game. This ad gets points for the creativity and scale of the promotion, as well as the virtuosic motormouth delivery of the announcer. Good luck out there in the contest, everybody!
Oikos: Hold My Oikos
Golf buddies Martin Lawrence and Shannon Sharpe find their golf cart submerged in a water hazard. Fortunately, Lawrence is a fan of Oikos yogurt, and his healthy, protein-forward snacking habits give him the ability* to haul the golf cart out of the water like a superhero might.
Here we have another attempt to fabricate a catchphrase in a Super Bowl commercial, in this case, "hold my Oikos." Which actually might be funny enough to work, now that I think about it.
*DRAMATIZATION. DO NOT ATTEMPT.
Doritos: Dina & Mita
One of the cool things about Super Bowl ads is that they can go above and beyond the usual commercial fare, with bigger production values in addition to all the celebrity star power. Jenna Ortega is here but her appearance is kind of a misdirect, as it's her abuelas, Dina and Mita, who do most of the work selling Doritos Dinamita (get it?), pursuing the last bag in full-blown action movie fashion. Hopefully, supplies of the Doritos variant won't run out and we won't see this kind of dangerous scenario play out anywhere in the real world.
Lindt: Life Is A Ball
Here's an old-school commercial that doesn't rely on any wacky humor gimmicks or celebrity cameos to get its point across, unless music accompaniment by the late Perry Cuomo counts as a celebrity cameo. It's an elegant piece of advertising confectionary with a singalong theme that befits the upscale nature of Lindt chocolate. What can I say? In the midst of three hours of visual and aural stimulation overload, it feels kind of refreshing.
Dunkin': 'The DunKings' Ft. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Tom Brady, Jack Harlow, Jennifer Lopez, & Fat Joe
Ben Affleck's Boston-accented Dunkin' routine was a highlight of last year's Super Bowl ad slate, and now Affleck has higher ambitions than working the Dunkin' drive-thru. Affleck wants to be a pop-stah, and in a teaser released before the game, he was shown enlisting Charli D'Amelio to help him master the difficult art. For the actual ad, we have Affleck unveiling the finished product for Jennifer Lopez and Fat Joe, and it includes assists from Tom Brady, Matt Damon, and Jack Harlow. It's funny and it lets Affleck spoof his public image in a good-natured and amusing way. Incidentally, I could really go for a donut right now, so the ad has succeeded in more ways than one.
Starry: It's Time To See Other Sodas
The makers of Starry lemon lime soda want you to dump Sprite and drink Starry instead. To drive that point home they've concocted a scenario where Ice Spice leaves her "ex lemon lime soda" Sprite to be in a throuple with the Starry lemon and lime. I'm not kidding, that's clearly what's being depicted in the commercial. It appears Starry is acting like the official lemon lime soda of ethical non–monogamy, a development that's hilarious enough for me to crown this the best ad of the night.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.